2005_08_gardenrest.jpgGothamist received an intriguing email from reader S.:

Thought you might be interested in hearing that the Dept of Buildings posted signs on most of the doors of restaurants on Smith Street during business hours last night, ordering them to close their gardens immediately. It seems that there are conflicting laws regarding the use of back gardens at restaurants and bars in Brooklyn, and the Dept. picked one set and is cracking down. The restaurant owners have no clue where to start as far as getting some sort of permit so that their main revenue builder in the summer can stay open. Some restaurants are ignoring it for now until their hearing date so they can get due process, others are scared of getting fined and have closed their gardens. That's all the scoop I got, but it sucks for Brooklyn residents!

Does anyone know what's going on? There's a reason why the Smith Street restaurant scene exploded - great chefs were attracted by lower rents/operating costs. City Councilman David Yassky will have to work on a referendum to have the DoB ease up on outdoor dining, because that's one of the purest joys of warm weather months.

Citysearch on the best outdoor dining and New York magazine's list of 543 restaurants that offer outdoor dining. Some of Gothamist's very favorite restaurant gardens are the one at Paradou in the Meatpacking district and Five Front in Brooklyn - what's your favorite?